"Shimmers" are targeting the chip in your credit and debit card
Shimmers are hidden in ATM's and gas pumps and can disable the chip on your credit or debit card. (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -
As summer nears, so does a busy travel season, and when you hit the road this summer, there's a new scam to be aware of.
Skimmers are devices on ATM's and gas pumps that steal credit and debit card information, which you may be familiar with.
However, now, there are "shimmers" that can steal your information just as easily.
The "Criminal Investigation Division" of the Secret Service sent out a notice to field offices to give them a heads up about these shimmers.
The country has been transitioning to the chip in debit and credit cards that is supposed to make them safer, and it does, but thieves have now found a way around that as well.
"I finally got the chip and thought things were taken care of," Erin Roche said.
But, they're not thanks to shimmers.
In effect, shimmers disable the chip on your credit or debit card.
"The ATM machine will revert to the mag stripe data so it's bypassing the chip security features," Tom Freesmeier of the Secret Service said.
That makes it easier for thieves to get your credit card information. Just like the skimmer, it's placed inside an ATM or gas pump, and you'll never even know it's there.
"This would be placed above the keypad, it's a pinhole camera that would look down on the keypad and capture your PIN information," Freesmeier said.
Shimmers are now starting to pop up in various parts of the country, and at least one has been found in the St. Louis area.
Freesmeier says be on guard when using an ATM.
"Be proactive at an ATM, make sure you don't have anybody nearby kind of shoulder surfing trying to get PIN information, take a quick visual look at the ATM and make sure it hasn't been tampered with," said Freesmeier.
If an ATM does appear to be tampered with, notify the bank or call police.
It's also a good idea to cover the keypad with one hand while you're inputting your PIN number.
Even giving the device a tug is recommended because these devices sometimes come off in your hand.
Lastly, always check your monthly statements for any abnormal spending on your account.
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